November 4, 2019 - 17:42 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian wines — despite a checkered past — look toward a brilliant future, Forbes travel writer Tom Mullen says in an article about how modern winemakers in the country are "a diverse and hardy lot."
Beginning over a decade ago a series of archaeological ‘firsts’ were discovered in a cliffside cave near the mountain town of Areni. These included the earliest known shoe, the oldest known brain tissue from the Old World and a 6,100-year-old winery—the earliest ever discovered on earth. In what is now known as the Areni-1 Cave, the public can view clay cylindrical containers (each more than a yard/meter in diameter) where wine was produced for burial ceremonies.
"The truth is clear: whether for rituals or relaxation, Armenia’s descendants have been sipping fermented grape juice for millennia," Mullen says in the piece.
"A visit to a few Armenian wineries reveals how this nation’s winemakers form a proud group that is unusually replete with big thinking entrepreneurs."
Grapes grow in five viticultural regions in the country, and—according to the Vine & Wine Foundation of Armenia—the country has more than 400 indigenous grape varieties, or about half as many as Italy, which is geographically 10 times larger. Of that total number, 31 grapes are used to make wine. For whites, common grapes include Voskehat and Kangun. For reds, Areni rules, the article says.
"The quality of Armenia’s top wines today—whether white or red, rosé or bubbling—is frequently stellar. One key reason is that several Armenians who left the country are returning, armed with ample cash, business and marketing savvy and networks of wine consulting contacts to aid their efforts," says the article.